On Hidden Star, Guo Chunfeng and Lu Zui were confronting each other in silence.
Invisible electric arcs were spluttering between the supervisor of the first division of the Secret Sword Bureau and the director of the Secret Sword Bureau. Even the air was uttering crackling noises.
Four Cultivators in crystal suits, their blades unsheathed and their firearms locked and loaded, were standing next to Lu Zui, aiming at every joint on Guo Chunfeng’s body.
Guo Chunfeng glanced over each and every one of them and smiled. “‘Doom Sword’ Gu Feizhou, ‘Bloody Shadow’ Gao Cheng, Lei Poan elder of the Green Cloud Sect known as the best expert in the southwestand Xie Longyin, the chief tutor of the Slaying Steel Exo Training Camp. I did not know that the four top Core Formation Stage Cultivators were actually all working for the Secret Sword Bureau as Dark Sword Agents who are directly under director’s command. What a surprise!”
He was bleeding hard because of his heavy wounds, like a tiger that had fallen into a trap and was confined without being able to move.
But Gu Feizhou, Gao Cheng, Lei Po, and Xie Longyin, four Core Formation Stage Cultivators who had gained their fame through countless bloody battles, did not dare ease their alert at all. Their intimidating auras locked him up like invisible chains.
“Ah Feng, you seemed to be leaving a moment ago,” Lu Zui said. “You’d just executed Blood Devil Li Yao. Where were you going to instead of coming and reporting to me? If my men had come one step later, would you have escaped underground and vanished into thin air?”
Guo Chunfeng was silent.
Lu Zui gradually raised his voice. “Blood Devil gave an item to you at the last moment. Why didn’t you report such an important issue to me?”
“You’re talking about this?” Guo Chunfeng opened his hands. A small bag, in which a cubic object was stored, suddenly appeared in his palm.
Lu Zui’s eyes shone. The four Core Formation Stage Cultivators were going to step forward and take it away when Guo Chunfeng turned around his hands and returned the item into his Cosmos Ring. Taking a step back, he roared like a tiger, “Who dares come?”
Lu Zui narrowed his eyes and said coldly, “Ah Feng, what’s the meaning of this? This is critical proof concerning the explosion case in the Federal Square. As the director of the Secret Sword Bureau, I now command you to submit it. Is there a problem?
“There is!” Guo Chunfeng stared at him. “After Li Yao snuck into the headquarters, he came to me and told me that it was you who planned the explosions in the Federal Square and that his evidence was kept in this very Jade Crystal Disc!”
“And you believed such a lousy lie?” Lu Zui sneered.
“I didn’t, at that time,” Guo Chunfeng replied, one word after another. “Therefore, I pretended that I was convinced and went to the prison cell where Professor Mo Xuan was caged together with him. Then, I slew him when he was the least prepared.
“However, his eyes and his countenance the moment before his death were too weird!
“I could tell that he had a chance to kill me together with himself, but he didn’t do it. Instead, he blew me out of the prison cell and snapped the Jade Crystal Disc into my pocket!
“What was the meaning of that?
“If he were the real Blood Devil, why was he determined to deliver the Jade Crystal Disc to me even at the cost of his own death? Is there such a Blood Devil?
“What kind of secrets have been hidden inside the Jade Crystal Disc? Or rather, what is the ‘evidence’ inside that he and you both attached great importance to?
“Director, this is my question. If you can give me a plausible answer, I will hand over the Jade Crystal Disc immediately!”
This time, it was Lu Zui who fell silent.
Guo Chunfeng gnashed his teeth. “Director, there’s another approach. We can look for a crystal processor specialist right now and have the Jade Crystal Disc cracked here and now. After the information inside is retrieved, the whole incident will be resolved, and your innocence will be proved!”
Lu Zui was still silent, but his eyes were sharper than ever.
His eyes made Guo Chunfeng shudder in chill. Guo Chunfeng exclaimed, “Or, was Blood Devil Li Yao speaking the truth? No. He wasn’t the Blood Devil at all. He was Li Yao. Vulture Li Yao! There is indeed evidence that is of paramount importance inside!”
“Ah Feng.” Lu Zui stood up slowly, as if he were suddenly thirty years older.
He groped for a piece of egg-shaped magical equipment from the drawer and tossed it into the air.
The egg-shaped magical equipment emanated an ocean of glimmer that filled every corner of the cabin in feeble creaking sound.
“Alright. The cabin has been jammed. All the eavesdropping chips are now blocked,” Lu Zui said. “Now, we can confide in each other.”
Holding his desk, he sighed softly. “Ah Feng, you are a talent. Over the past decades, I’ve been educating you carefully and watching you grow up step by step. I have high hopes for your potential and your future!
“You know that I am already more than two hundred years old. However hard I try to maintain myself, my head is still getting more and more rusted. I won’t be able to stay in this world for long.
“Before, I hoped that you could fill my place as the next director of the Secret Sword Bureau and as the guardian angel of the dark frontline of the federation after I retired.
“Despite everything that has happened, I still don’t want to ruin you. I hope that you won’t do anything stupid that will ruin yourself, too.
“Hand over the Jade Crystal Disc. I’ll arrange a place for you where you can treat your wounds without being disturbed. After ten days, you will be able to come back and reunite with your family. Does that sound good?”
“Since it was you who educated me, you must know my personality best. I cannot turn a blind eye to what I have already seen, and I cannot hide any clandestine stuff in my heart!” Guo Chunfeng declared resolutely. “Tell me the truth. What is inside the Jade Crystal Disc? Perhaps, I’ll take director’s side after deliberation, but otherwise, just attack!”
The atmosphere in the cabin was suddenly tense. All the metal walls around were uttering cracking noises!
Staring at him for a long time, Lu Zui hesitated and finally said, “It is the memories of Elder Nether Spring. Three months ago, we captured Elder Nether Spring and extracted all his memories with the ‘soul searching technique’. We also learned the truth of the Children of the Nether World plan.”
As if struck by lightning, Guo Chunfeng trembled and mumbled, “You captured Elder Nether Spring and learned the truth of the Children of the Nether World a long time ago. Then, you knew the demon race’s plan to assassinate the Speaker and to take over Burning Prairie beforehand, and you simply watched everything happen?
“No! No! No!
“I understand it now. Li Yao was speaking the truth. The demons never intended to steal Burning Prairie. It was your scheme the whole time. Yours!
“Director, you are one of the most eminent persons standing at the highest peak of the federation. You’ve been fighting for us for two hundred years. You have no reason to betray the federation. Why did you do it?”
”I didn’t betray the federation!” Lu Zui roared. “Everything I did was meant to protect the federation and preserve our most sacred, pure, and great motherland!
“Ah Feng, don’t you understand? It is impossible for mankind and the demon race to be integrated. Even if the two races join together, it will only be a time bomb that will explode at the most critical moment in decades to come!
“Ah Feng, you are a war orphan, too. Your hometown was demolished in a beast tide. Your parents were killed by the demon beasts, too. Can you not see the evil nature of the demon race? Are those stinky, inhumane animals in any way qualified to ‘integrate’ with us?
“The only way to save the federation is to attack and conquer the Blood Demon Sector completely. All the lousy animals will be sent for mining on the resource planets in the Flying Star Sector as slaves!”
“Let’s say your logic makes sense,” Guo Chunfeng roared, too, “why didn’t you propose your ideas and persuade most of the representatives in the parliaments to launch a war openly? Why must you trigger the hatred of the public through such shameless and insane methods?”
“Because we don’t have time to let the hatred brew.” Lu Zui suddenly calmed down. He said coldly, “The general public are always numb, weak, and short-sighted. They never see the contradiction decades later, only dwelling in the peace before their eyes!
“After the Cultivators of the Flying Star Sector came to the Heaven’s Origin Sector with the news of the Imperium of True Human Beings, the entire federation was soaked in groundless illusions that there would be peace between the Heaven’s Origin Sector and the Blood Demon Sector so that we could work together against the Imperium of True Human Beings.
“In such an atmosphere, all kinds of bizarre theories and opinions were popping up. Even the most unwavering warriors in the past had been corroded and thought that the blades of human beings and those of demons could point at the same direction and that the bloody hatred which had lasted tens of thousands of years would just thaw into nothing!
“Human beings are the weakest species in the world. They only believe what they are willing to believe. They always have impractical illusions and refuse to open their eyes to clearly see the brutality of the world!
“In the Blood Demon Sector, Jin Tuyi, the one-in-ten-thousand-years schemer, grasped the weakness of humanity perfectly. He threw out a proposal of truce under the disguise of ‘peace’ and tried to corrupt the entire federation slowly and inconspicuously!
“The proposal of truce was brought back to the Heaven’s Origin Sector by none other than the ‘federal hero’ Li Yao!
“Ah Feng, after working in the Secret Sword Bureau for more than two hundred years, I’ve seen too many lies, disguises, betrayals, regrets, and deaths. I know the sordidness of the demon race and the cowardice of our compatriots too well!
“I guarantee that when Li Yao brought the proposal of truce back to the Blood Demon Sector as a ‘federal hero’, our short-sighted and weak compatriots certainly would’ve been bewildered by his fancy words. They would’ve embraced peace, dancing in delight!
“But it would’ve not been the truth. Not real peace. It would’ve been merely a preparation period of several decades where the demons sharpened their claws and teeth before they butchered us!
“Now is the feeblest moment for the Blood Demon Sector and the strongest moment for us in the past thousand years. This is the best opportunity to conquer the Blood Demon Sector. If we miss our shot, or even agree to reach a truce with the demon race, the federation will be doomed. Completely doomed!”